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Cold weather doesn't keep me indoors. My next half marathon is set for May--that means running through winter.  Since I'm not getting any younger (sigh), it's up to me to train harder and smarter. With a good training plan and the right attitude, you can make winter running a joyous part of your workouts. We've got tips for winter running and a bunch of gear to keep you warm and safe.

Please note: There are Amazon Affiliate links in this post

running stretches

Tips for Winter Running

Using these six tips for winter running, I stay fit even when the temperatures dip.

  • Consider trail Shoes: For winter running you might want to get a thicker sole.
  • Watch the weather and map out a plan: I don't know about you, but I've got to get outside for the vitamin D and the infusion of oxygen. On Sunday night I plan my workouts. Since I can head to yoga or a class any day of the week, I pick my days for outdoor runs according to the weather report. If I see 25 and sunny with low winds, I'm ready. Cross-training takes place on the days with snow, sleet and high winds.
  • Hydrate: I don't feel like I am sweating much during my winter workouts. This is deceiving. I'm still working hard and getting dehydrated. It's easy to skip the water, so I've got to be extra mindful about drinking water during winter workouts. I try to drink room-temperature water pre and post workout. I find that when the water is too cold I won't drink as much. I'll also sneak in a extra cup of herbal tea in the morning. It still counts as water and doesn't give me the side effects of caffeine.
  • Layer up: If my hands, head and feet are happy, I'm good to go on my winter runs. I have a few close-fitting wool and cotton caps that are my go-to toppers. I purchased some great running gloves too--this makes a huge difference. Cold fingers make me miserable. Finally, mind your socks. I run in thin ski socks during the winter. Usually the socks are a blend of wool and synthetics. Having warm extremities makes all the difference in motivating me to get outside even on the most brisk of days.
  • Warm Up: Cold muscles are more prone to injury. Give yourself time to warm up with a dynamic workout. I do some lunges, leg swings and a few simple stretches to get the blood flowing. Runner's World has a great 5-minute warm-up routine for runners. Once that's done, don't break into a sprint right away. Start off slow and then build to your targeted pace.
  • Balance it out: Winter is the perfect time to add some yoga into the mix. It's a terrific exercise to support your running since it lengthens muscles and promotes core strength. Try to add a weekly yoga session into your workout plan. 

Now you know how I adjust my workouts to enable me to run throughout the winter season. I hope this helps you get motivated keep taking your workouts outdoors. When spring arrives (and it will!) you'll be in great shape for your 5k, 5-miler or half marathon.

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Cold weather running gear we love

Cold weather running gear we love

  1. Runmitts-double-velour-mitten-gaiter: These cute mittens are my secret weapon on cold days. You can run outside in really cold, windy weather with warm fingers. Access your digits by flipping the top back for the cooling effect. BONUS: This is a black-owned business. ($35). Get RunMitts here.
  2. BioLite headlamp. It gets dark early in the winter, this front profile headlight is a safety must. The headlamp sits flush on the forehead without worry of bounce or slippage. Moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry for any activity and the rechargeable battery means you can leave the alkalines behind. ($59.95) Get it on here.
  3. Reflective Vest: When the weather is cruddy, this vest will make you stand out for safety. The Streak Reflective Vest is ultra-lightweight and features a sleek design, 1200-foot visibility (366-meter), and 360-degree reflectivity to optimize performance and safety. It's form-fitting shape offers full range of motion without interrupting arm swing. Ideal for Night Running/Jogging. Get it on Amazon here. (this is an Amazon Affiliate link)
  4. Winter Tights: Upgrading your tights can go a LONG way to making runs more enjoyable. Try this pair from Stio with a nice wide waistband for comfort. I love that they come up higher on the waist. Get them on Stio here.
  5. Neck gaiter: This adjustable Skida accessory is perfect for the days when you aren't sure how many layers you need. Start out with this over your mouth until you warm up. I love how versatile it is--it can also be worn as a headband, or even a hat. Plus it comes in very cute prints ($22). Get it on Backcountry here.
  6. Ice Cleats. Don't get injured on ice! These handy cleats go over your shoes with 22 ultra durable push-through replaceable steel spikes for ice-biting, on-demand traction. Lightweight, minimal and supportive for winter running. BOA Fit: Dial in the perfect fit and adjust on the fly when needed. ($59.99) Get the Korkers cleats on Amazon here. (this is an Amazon Affiliate link)
  7. Merino Socks: On the coldest days, I opt for ski socks that come up high and keep my calves warm. I love this pair from Smart Wool. I also use them for Nordic skiing. Get them from Smart Wool here.
Tips for Running in Cold Weather

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